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Why Tie A Product Consumers Do Not Use?

Author

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  • Dennis W. Carlton
  • Joshua S. Gans
  • Michael Waldman

Abstract

This paper provides a new explanation for tying that is not based on any of the standard explanations -- efficiency, price discrimination, and exclusion. Our analysis shows how a monopolist sometimes has an incentive to tie a complementary good to its monopolized good in order to transfer profits from a rival producer of the complementary product to the monopolist. This occurs even when consumers -- who have the option to use the monopolist's complementary good -- do not use it. The tie is profitable because it alters the subsequent pricing game between the monopolist and the rival in a manner favorable to the monopolist. We show that this form of tying is socially inefficient, but interestingly can arise only when the tie is socially efficient in the absence of the rival producer. We relate this inefficient form of tying to several actual examples and explore its antitrust implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis W. Carlton & Joshua S. Gans & Michael Waldman, 2007. "Why Tie A Product Consumers Do Not Use?," NBER Working Papers 13339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13339
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael L, 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 413-432, December.
    2. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
    3. Whinston, Michael D, 1990. "Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 837-859, September.
    4. Patrick Bolton & Michael D. Whinston, 1993. "Incomplete Contracts, Vertical Integration, and Supply Assurance," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 121-148.
    5. Carbajo, Jose & de Meza, David & Seidmann, Daniel J, 1990. "A Strategic Motivation for Commodity Bundling," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(3), pages 283-298, March.
    6. Dennis W. Carlton & Joshua S. Gans & Michael Waldman, 2010. "Why Tie a Product Consumers Do Not Use?," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 85-105, August.
    7. Michael D. Whinston, 2001. "Exclusivity and Tying in U.S. v. Microsoft: What We Know, and Don't Know," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 63-80, Spring.
    8. Chen, Yongmin, 1997. "Equilibrium Product Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(1), pages 85-103, January.
    9. Choi, Jay Pil & Stefanadis, Christodoulos, 2001. "Tying, Investment, and the Dynamic Leverage Theory," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 52-71, Spring.
    10. Dennis W. Carlton & Michael Waldman, 2002. "The Strategic Use of Tying to Preserve and Create Market Power in Evolving Industries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(2), pages 194-220, Summer.
    11. Gans, Joshua S., 2011. "Remedies for tying in computer applications," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 505-512, September.
    12. Dennis W. Carlton & Michael Waldman, 2005. "Tying, Upgrades, and Switching Costs in Durable-Goods Markets," NBER Working Papers 11407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. William James Adams & Janet L. Yellen, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-498.
    14. Barry Nalebuff, 2004. "Bundling as an Entry Barrier," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 159-187.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hurkens, Sjaak & Jeon, Doh-Shin & Menicucci, Domenico, 2013. "Dominance and Competitive Bundling," TSE Working Papers 13-423, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    2. Dennis W. Carlton & Joshua S. Gans & Michael Waldman, 2010. "Why Tie a Product Consumers Do Not Use?," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 85-105, August.
    3. Joshua S. Gans, 2011. "When is Static Analysis a Sufficient Proxy for Dynamic Considerations? Reconsidering Antitrust and Innovation," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 55-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jihui Chen, 2011. "Do Exclusivity Arrangments Harm Consumers?," Working Paper Series 20111001, Illinois State University, Department of Economics.
    5. repec:kap:regeco:v:51:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11149-017-9325-y is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Claudio Lucarelli & Sean Nicholson & Minjae Song, 2010. "Bundling Among Rivals: A Case of Pharmaceutical Cocktails," NBER Working Papers 16321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gans, Joshua S., 2012. "Mobile application pricing," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 52-59.
    8. Gans, Joshua S., 2011. "Remedies for tying in computer applications," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 505-512, September.
    9. Joao Macieira & Pedro Pereira & Joao Vareda, 2013. "Bundling Incentives in Markets with Product Complementarities: The Case of Triple-Play," Working Papers 13-15, NET Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts

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